Dolly Parton Debuts New Version of “Puppy Love” for Gleeful Pet Gala Performance

Dolly Parton certainly knows how to read the room. The country singer performed the opening for her Pet Gala, and she picked the perfect song — “Puppy Love.” Airing on CBS, Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala is a dog fashion show and features several celebrities, Parton included.

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Appearing on stage through a giant star, Parton introduced audiences to the show, saying, “Well hello puppy lovers.” The singer wore a red and white jumper with paw prints. After the song, Parton promised a night of celebrating “all kinds of dogs, including some famous dogs, some working dogs, and dogs that have skills that will make you drool.”  

“Hey everybody, are you feeling good tonight? Well, you know, I have done a lot of different kinds of shows over the past 60-something years, but tonight is my first ever Pet Gala! A night of music and fashion and adorable doggies walking the runway,” Parton said (via Country Now). “Now, who wouldn’t love that, right?” 

The singer also teased some of her famous friends, which included Lainey Wilson, Carly Pearce, and Chris Janson among others.

“I’m going to be performing with a bunch of my favorite human friends, and of course, you can’t have a pet gala without pets,” Parton continued. “So our very special audience has some of the most dashing doggies and PAWSitively precious pups that you have ever seen.”

After the Pet Gala, Parton uploaded the new version of Puppy Love, dubbed “Billy Version” to her official YouTube account.

“Puppy Love” Was Dolly Parton’s First Single

“Puppy Love” holds a special place in Parton’s heart and catalog. It was the first single that Parton ever recorded at the ripe age of 13 years old. The song details a young teenage love that’s not built on a sturdy bedrock. Parton wrote the song with her uncle Bill Owens, a country musician in his own right.

She recorded the song at Goldband Records in Louisiana on her first record.

The song ended up playing locally, which was a huge moment for Parton. “I remember the first time I heard myself on the radio,” she wrote in her 2020 book Songteller (via Songfacts). “I about killed myself — I was sitting up on the counter, and the radio was on — I jumped off the counter and slid and fell trying to get to the radio to turn it up.”

At the time, Parton also experienced her first puppy love as well. She said she developed a crush on the son of a Goldband executive when recording the album.”He was the prettiest thing I had ever seen,” she said. “We were about the same age, and that was my first big crush. My first big love and my first record.”

Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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